They call it mello yellow

Here's something a little different: yellow birds. I've enjoyed my birdcage paintings, but I wanted to do one with more striking colors. The red background and black cage creates a nice contrast. The yellow birds seemed like an obvious choice.

My apologies for such a long span between posts. I'm still wrestling with a large painting of flowers I'm doing for a co-worker. I hope to finish it soon. I need to.

Also, I've been doing other paintings for friends and family for the holidays. So, if you're related to me, there's a good chance you're getting a painting of some sort.

This painting has sold.

Got a Website!

Much as I enjoy updating and writing on this blog, I realized a while ago that my blog name is waaaaaaaay too long to just write it out on the back of a business card. And one of the questions I got most at the arboretum art show was "Do you have a website?"

Now I do.

It's not much to look at. In fact, there's little on there that isn't on this blog. One big difference, though, is the photos of the paintings were taken by a professional photographer, so the quality is far better than what is on the blog.

I plan to continue to update my blog. Here's the address for the website if you want to check it out:

What a Day!

Art in the Arboretum came and went, and I have to say it far exceeded my expectations. Easily worth getting up at 5:30 to be there by 8:00 (in 40-degree weather) to set up my booth, which was sandwiched between a trio of potters and another painter.

Shortly after the event got rolling, I was approached by a group of judges who were each holding clipboards.
"Greensboro Beautiful," the first judge began, "is proud to award you first prize for Best in Show at this year's Art in the Arboretum!"

I couldn't believe it. My first show and I took first prize.

I had a steady flow of people through my booth and received visits from friends and really sweet people from my mother-in-law's office. It was especially nice to see my sister and her husband, who traveled nearly and hour and a half to see the show.

I sold nine works of art. It was unbelievable.

Next up is the Moses Cone Cancer Center event. I'm excited about this one, too.

Free Bird

I've had this idea for a painting rolling around in my head for some time. I finally took some time to do it. I like the way it turned out, but I plan on refining it and maybe making the birdcage a different color than the off white I used. I think I'll call this 'Birdcage on Green.'

The colors are actually much more vibrant than what shows up in this photo. I have terrible lighting where I paint.

If it dries in time, I'll have this painting to show at the Art in the Arboretum on Oct. 2.

Fruits of My Labor

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I need to get busy with painting for an upcoming art show. I was picked by a group of judges associated with the local beautification committee to take part in an arts and crafts show. "Art in the Arboretum" is an annual event where local artists can show off their talents and work to each other and the public (art can also be bought at the event). The show is attended by hundreds of people throughout the Triad. And if I remember correctly, there is a bit of judging that takes place during the event, with cash prizes awarded to the top three artists. I truly am honored to have been picked to participate in this show. It takes place on Oct. 2, from 12-5 pm. Tell your friends and come on out.

On the more stressful side of things, I really have to get to work coming up with paintings. At the moment, I only have about 10 - 12 completed paintings to show for. That's where these pears come in: I was able to do this painting in a day. It's a small painting -- 8"X8" -- and I like it. I might do another with only one pear.
I am also working on another bird painting, but with a bit of a twist. I hope to have two or three of those in time for the show. In all, I'd like to have as many as 20 pieces of art to show at the Art in the Arboretum.

Sailing Away!

This is a painting I did to be raffled off at The Business Journal's Fast 50 event on Sept. 22. It's called "Smooth Sailling." I like this one fine, although I am not convinced this is the best 'boat' painting I can do. Also, this is likely the last painting I'm doing for a Business Journal event. I've really appreciated the exposure, but I need to devote more time to doing work for an up coming art show.
I do like the water and sky relationship. As much as I might not like the actual boats, I really like the calmness of the painting, overall.

Alfred Hitchcock would be proud

I'm very nearly finished with a triptych for the new cancer center at Wesley Long Hospital. Several months ago, I was asked by a woman who serves on the board of directors for Moses Cone Health if I would submit a prototype of a bird painting to be exhibited at the new cancer center. She liked my original bird paintings (enough to buy one herself), but wanted the prototype to reflect nature, family, community; to help heal and "to make you smile." She also wanted more birds in the painting.
So, I submitted an idea to her and, a couple of months later, I received a call telling me the painting idea was a hit. However, they wanted me to make it a triptych. And it needed to be done in a month.
Well, here it is: 25 birds of varying sizes and shapes on the three panels. The piece is six feet wide, which easily makes it the largest project I've done.
I now have to send a photo of the painting to the woman with Moses Cone Health. The photo will be printed in a catalogue to be distributed to people who will be attending a gala event and fundraiser for the cancer center. The tryptic will be priced and (hopefully) sold. The cancer center will then pay me for the painting and keep the work of art at the center.
I don't know if I'm invited, which is fine either way. I like the idea of a lot of people seeing my work. I do hope to see where it winds up being displayed. I've been told it will probably go into the break room for doctors and nurses.
I believe the fundraiser is slated for Oct. 13.

'As idle as a painted ship upon a painted sea'

I was asked by a co-worker to do a painting for her. I'm cool with birds and doing a pretty good job with apples. But she wanted something that reminded her and her husband of their honeymoon to Saint Lucas. Something with boats and the ocean.
This is what I came up with. To date, this has been the most challenging painting I've done. I knew immediately how I wanted to do it, but the colors and the mountain gave me fits. Also, I wrestled with where to draw the line at how complicated I wanted to make the painting. I tried adding reflections of the boats and was really unhappy with how those turned out, so I repainted the water for a third time.
In the end, I'm really happy that I kept it more simple, giving very little detail to the boats, mountain and sky.
My coworker says she loves it, so I'm calling it a success.

Next up is a flower painting for another co-worker.

The Book on Birds

Kimberly and I spent part of our long Fourth of July weekend returning to a project we'd kicked around a bit a month or so ago. We still had this stack of old Reader's Digest covers that we'd planned to use for bird-related art. So we spent a few hours cutting stencils and painting birds. I must say, having Kimberly's input proved valuable. Many of her suggestions improved the look of the book covers and will also make future book-bird artwork easier.
We made 13 of them. Seeing them spread across our dinner table made for a delightful scene. They all looked so nice. Then we asked ourselves, "Wouldn't these look even better framed?" We set out to find some frames that would have a look appropriate for these pieces of art. It needed to be rustic, whimsical, natural, shabby chic and inexpensive.
We found nothing in a store that matched these prerequisites. So we made the frames. We had a bunch of perfectly aged wood leftover from a fence we had in the backyard. I did the miter cuts and we pieced them together to create frames that were just right for the book birds.

Sorry for the long delay between posts. Been busy working on a boat painting.

This painting has sold.

Comparing Apples to Apples

In preparation for The Business Journal's Healthiest Employers awards ceremony, I decided to do another apples painting that could be sold at the event. The original was to be raffled. I found recreating the original to be quite difficult and somewhat aggravating. I painted over and repainted the apples several times before I reached a point with which I was satisfied. However, the time it took to reach that point prevented me from having the painting finished in time for the awards ceremony.
I look at the second apples painting and think about how hard this painting was to finish. I think it's just easy to paint things the first time, mostly because I'm surprised I'm able to do it at all. Once I've done a painting -- whether it's apples, birds or windmills -- I have something to measure it against, thereby setting a bar for my painting ability. I struggled a bit to come to terms with the fact that the differences between one painting to another is what makes them original works of art.
The original painting, which I call "Five Green Apples," was won by a woman in Greensboro. She said, "The apples were a very appropriate theme since I work in crop protection." Unfortunately, no one took a photo of her and her winnings.
I was on a late wedding anniversary trip to Baltimore.
On another note, I think I have properly made a change to the set up of this blog that will enable anyone to comment. So anyone out there who wants to comment, please do. Especially those folks in Germany and Canada. Let me know what you think.

How 'bout them apples?

The next Business Journal event is giving me a break from the birds. Our marketing director asked me to do another painting to be raffled for the "Healthiest Employers" event in late June. The theme is apples.

I'm doing this painting upstairs (not in the basement) and I'm finding things dry quickly -- almost too quickly. I've already had issues with not being able to blend colors. I have, though, enjoyed being able to use highlights and shadows to give details and add dimension to the apples.

And I'm really enjoying the new easel.

Let the Sun Shine In

Lots of changes to report. First, I have a new easel. Kimberly found a great looking tall easel (pictures to come later) at an antique store. Now I can do big paintings without having to turn them on their sides.
Second, I'm moving out of the basement....mostly. My new easel won't fit in my cave-like dwelling, so I'll be working in the dining room, with lots more light. Don't know if I'll change the name of my blog.
Third, I have an Etsy site where I have art for sale. If you go over a little to the right and down, you'll see a few of my favorite links. One of them will take you right to my Etsy store.
As if to signal my move to a sunnier spot, I did this painting of two bluebirds sharing some berries. I wrestle a lot with the color yellow. It's hard to get a color that's not too bright, but not too gold. I think I like what I managed.

Red birds on a line

I actually started this painting months ago. I didn't like the original background color, which was a really harsh yellow, so I tried a sort of fig, or brown, color. That did little to please me, so I set aside this painting to try again later.

Someone recently mentioned to me about an artist who works with stain glass. One of his pieces is of birds on a wire. I was then reminded of my incomplete painting of birds on a wire. When I set the painting on the easel it seemed obvious to me: paint the background blue.

We Have a Winner

The Business Journal today held its annual Women in Business Awards ceremony. One of my bird paintings, which I have titled, "Red Bird on Green," was raffled. The winner was Heather from a biotech firm in Winston-Salem. Since she might not want her name and employer on the Internet, I'm leaving it at that.

The reviews of the painting were overwhelmingly positive and I was both relieved and thrilled. In fact, I was asked by a couple of women in attendance to do a painting for each of them. I believe that's called being commissioned.

Art at Adelaide's

Even though the paint was still wet on one of my paintings, I took three of them to Adelaide's Corner Cottage on Spring Garden Street in Greensboro. Adelaide, the owner, said she would hang them together on a wall in the garden section of her store.

A number of customers who were in the store were enthusiastically complimentary when I brought in the paintings.

They are for sale, so go buy one.....or all of them. Thank you to Adelaide for letting me put the paintings in her shop. It's a great place to shop for antiques, oddities, shabby chic accessories and paintings of birds.

Adelaide's is at 1938 Spring Garden St. in Greensboro. Her store is open Tuesday through Saturday.

Got the birds covered

Kimberly raided the free books section at Edward McKay's Used Books and came home with a box full of old Readers Digests. She really liked the designs on the hardback covers and thought they could be used for something, though she didn't know what.

Well, why not paint on them. I did these using a stencil and acrylic paints. The birds are the design that was already on the cover.

A little birdie told me

Just a bit of news for anyone who might care: Where I work -- The Business Journal -- is having a major event that awards the area's top women in business. It's called, "Women in Business Awards." The marketing for this year's award presentation involves a design with birds. I was asked if I would contribute a painting to be raffled.
I'm jumping at the opportunity. In fact, in hopes of making a really big impression, I'm contributing one of my bird paintings, like the one in the About the Bird post below. More than 300 people will see my paintings. Maybe someone will like them enough to commission me to do more.
This will take place in late April.

On another front, thanks to the marketing efforts of my wife, the owner of a shabby-chic accessories/antiques store wants to sell my paintings. "Birds are in demand," she says. "Please bring them to my store!"
We'll see how this goes.

What lies beneath

Here is my basement studio, complete with hazards. I fear that one day I'll trip over something and fall into one of my paintings. I've already banged my head on a nail and spent the next hour bleeding and trying to not fall asleep.

Apologies to Don Quixote

Nearly 20 years ago, I drove across the country to San Diego and back. I spent a fair amount of time in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, mostly by choice. The desert has its fair share of life-threatening issues, but nothing can compete with the level of beauty it possesses.

There is nothing in the way -- the sky starts on one side of the road and ends on the other. The sheer vastness and openness of the place gave me comfort.

It's a feeling I try to recreate with my paintings of windmills and barns. This is the first of at least three I plan to paint. I was very pleased with the drama and emotion of this painting -- a certain warmth to the end of a long day, and a nagging apprehension about a change in the weather on the horizon.

Birds of a feather

One of the best things about creating artwork on a computer is the ability to easily change colors, arrangements and size without having to redraw, repaint or risk ruining the original. With my simple bird design I was able to easily change the background color and create a blueprint for a series of paintings. As much as I enjoy the original version of the bird painting (with green background), I enjoy the series of three even more.

Each of these paintings has sold.

About the bird

Once I finished my fishing port painting, I moved directly on to a new subject: birds. I really love birds. However, every drawing I have done of a bird looks sadly silly.

One afternoon, I was goofing around in Photoshop, when I used a few simple shapes to create a bird. I drew a branch and dropped in a green background.

"I like this," I said, and I set about painting it.

It's about time

Nearly seven years ago, I started a painting of a fishing port. As it does with so many enjoyable things, life stepped in and stood between me and the canvas. Life also yanked my paintbrush from my hand and ate it. It then sucked dry every oil paint tube I had. Eventually, life would also sell my tall easel at a yard sale. But I kept the unfinished painting and stored it away in the attic.

Years later, my desire to paint was rekindled. I believed I had earned life's respect and was now in a better position to negotiate my time. And so, with a $300 A.C. Moore giftcard in hand, I would replenish my oil painting supplies. I was intent on finishing my fishing port painting.

Life shrugged and basically agreed to let me keep my supplies, but refused to relinquish my time. My unfinished fishing port painting rested in the attic, while $300 worth of art supplies sat in a tackle box in the basement.

Two more years would pass before I would announce to my wife, "I want to paint."
"You should," she said, "right after you list stuff on Craigslist."

I did just that. My wife also said I should set up my easel in the dining room. However, I knew what would happen: My easel would sit unused. I would grow frustrated with seeing the paints, canvas, brushes and easel and not being able to use them. It would get in the way and, eventually, it would all be moved: First, into the corner, then into the closet; then to the basement.

I decided to save myself some frustration and clear out a space in our dark, cold, dirty and damp basement.

I have finished my fishing port painting: It's a beautiful scene of simple paradise. Not quite like my basement.